Last Known Activity
Arthur John Baranick was born in South Boston, Massachusetts on May 22, 1920. He was the son of Elias and Margaret Baranick, immigrants from Austria. Arthur was the 5th child of seven.
When he enlisted in the U.S. Army, his middle name "John" was not on his original birth certificate, so in official records, he is listed as Arthur (NMI) Baranick. He was known as "Art."
It has not been discovered when he enlisted; however, there is a letter giving Private Arthur Baranick two days off to visit Honolulu and environs. This letter is from the C.O. of the 19th Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, and is dated 8 January 1940. Further listings state that SSgt Arthur Baranick was "commended for heroic actions" at Wheeler Field on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The next evidence concerning Baranick states he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in May 1943, and after training in the P-38 aircraft, he was assigned to the 338th Fighter Squadron of the 55th Fighter Group in England. On December 19, 1943, he had a take-off accident in which the left engine of his P-38 (#42-67025) quit just after take-off. In the ensuing crash, the aircraft was listed as "destroyed." This incident occured at Kingscliffe, Air Station 367, England.
He began fighter sweep and bomber escort missions shortly thereafter. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on March 26, 1944. During April 1943, he received the Air Medal and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters to it. He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on May 13, 1944.
On an escort mission in June 1944, his flight was engaged by a number of enemy aircraft. His wingman observed Baranick's aircraft began tumbling as it disappeared into an overcast, but never received any radio transmissions to the effect that he had been hit. THe wingman further stated he observed a parachute. German reports indicate Baranick died in the crash of his aircraft. The same report states his unopened parachute was still on him, so the parachute must have been one of the other 2 P-38 pilots lost (and captured) that day. Baranick was initially buried at Triel, near Pontose, NW of Paris. He was moved to the Epinal American Military Cemetery at Epinal, France. He is buried in Plot A, Row 10, Grave 30.
1st Lieutenant Arthur John Baranick was assigned P-38 #42-68130, nicknamed "Paper Doll," while with the 338th Fighter Squadron. This is the aircraft in which he died.
Missing Air Crew Report 5740 applies.
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